Just from the title and its above title star, one knows what to expect from something like 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded. The original was hardly anything special although John Cena wasn’t terrible and Robert Patrick made for a formidable villain, but here, with a lower budget, things got scaled down from the production design to the script which seemed to be a wannabe Saw story with less-than-intricate plot points anyone can see coming 15 miles away.
Fox | R – 94 min. – $29.99 | June 4, 2013
Directed by: Roel Reine
Writer(s): David Benullo (written by)
Cast: Randy Orton, Brian Markinson, Tom Stevens, Cindy Busby
Features: Audio Commentary, Featurettes, DVD Copy, Digital Copy
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size: 22.1 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 2.25/5
“I feel like I’m dying on the inside, right now. I literally feel nauseous.”
WWE Studios is alive and well churning out more direct-to-video flicks showcasing their talent in leading roles. The latest is called 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded, yet another sequel with no recurring characters from the first, least they give credit to the original scriptwriter, and follows a similar formula.
The story centers on Nick Malloy (RANDY ORTON) who is walking home from the movies with his wife (CINDY BUSBY) when two cars collide on the streets and – off camera – somehow manage to both flip over, even though the momentum seen defies logic and gravity. Being a paramedic, Nick jumps into action attempting to help but he is unable to save the passenger in the one car and she dies before paramedics’ arrival.
Fast forward one year later. Nick and Sarah are as happy as movie couples can be as he goes to work, roaming the streets in an ambulance with partner, Jay, awaiting the next call which comes in a deserted area of town. The man stumbles out and during the examination, Nick receives a mysterious call, stepping out the voice on the other end tells him they are going to play a game with 12 rounds. The first round includes that patient who has a cell phone stapled into his stomach. If you’ve seen The Dark Knight, you know what happens next…
After the explosion, where Jay manages to barely escape, Nick has to follow the directions and rules by the man on the other end of the phone – he also happens to be tapped into every camera or device in the city – or else Nick’s wife is dead. So, Nick is sent on an Easter egg hunt, using a car provided by the caller, throughout the nameless city including a seedy motel where he finds drug addict Tommy (TOM STEVENS) who is apparently a part of the man’s plans.
Meanwhile, a detective (CHELSEY REIST) is called onto the scene at the ambulance alongside her partner (SEAN ROGERSON) as they investigate what exactly happened beginning with viewing the security footage showing Nick leaving the ambulance. While the partner thinks Nick is a suspect, she believes something more sinister is going on based on Nick’s behavior.
Back to the action, so to speak, Nick and Tommy continue to play some Simon Says with the man, who we do get a better look at, as he plays games that will eventually unfold to his ultimate goal and the message he wants to send to the pair and others in the scheme. No offense, but at this point if you couldn’t figure out who it is and why he’s doing these things, well, there’s no hope for you…
12 Rounds 2: Reloaded plays out like any other WWE Studio releases with a simple plot, cheap production and at best average acting. Now, taking those standards into consideration, this DTV sequel actually isn’t bad but it is highly predictable and even a bit insulting the way the screenplay is written, unraveling the plot in such a way as if the audience is too dense to figure it out, going so far as having flashbacks a la the Saw franchise.
Compared to Ted DiBiase Jr. and Mike ‘The Miz’ Mizanin who starred in The Marine sequels, Randy Orton isn’t terrible in the lead here. No, he doesn’t have much charisma, Dwayne Johnson and even John Cena are better in that area, but with such a lackluster screenplay, written by David Benullo (2004’s Around the World in 80 Days), I can’t place too much blame on Orton’s acting skills, or lack thereof.
The supporting cast is respectable, although one of the highlights of those two Marine DTV flicks was they at least had decent actors playing the villain with 12 Rounds 2, Brian Markinson’s Heller seemed more like Lex Luthor meets Jigsaw… and not in a kick ass kind of way either. At least his motivation isn’t as contrived and more in an emotional level rather than a cockamamie scheme to steal money.
All in all, 12 Rounds 2, for what it is, isn’t a bad movie and has its moments. The action is rather conventional, the acting average and the story so predictable, you’ll know what’s up within the first 15-minutes. But with a short 94-minute running time, it’s a harmless time waster and for the WWE fans out there, you might get more out of it versus others.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.25/5
Audio Commentary – Director/Cinematographer Roel Reine and Editor Rodu Ion give a lively and informative commentary providing some on set anecdotes about filming locations (in Vancouver), working with the cast and other little tid bits.
Randy Orton Reloaded (8:12; HD) is a profile on Orton and his career as he, and his co-stars, discusses working on the movie.
The Action of 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded (8:34; HD) looks at the action scenes featured in the movie including the stunt preparation.
Locations: From Heller’s Lair to the Sugar Factory (6:58; HD) provides more behind-the-scenes footage on two particular locations.
Also included is a download code for the UltraViolet Digital Copy as well as a regular Digital Copy via disc and a standard def DVD Copy.
VIDEO – 3.75/5
12 Rounds 2 shoots aimlessly onto Blu-ray presented with a glossy 1.78 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. The picture here is like any other in the direct-to-video line. No doubt shot digitally, this looks clean throughout, no artifacting, pixilation or even nominal grain or noise. It’s a fine transfer but also relatively shiny and cheap looking.
AUDIO – 4.5/5
The disc includes a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track which is pretty standard but does showcase the action quite well along with crisp and clear dialogue levels from the center channel. The LFE elements are subtle but kick in every so often while ambient noises, such as car engines, idle chatter, etc, come through the rear speakers.
OVERALL – 2.75/5
Overall, just from the title and its above title star, one knows what to expect from something like 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded. The original was hardly anything special although John Cena wasn’t terrible and Robert Patrick made for a formidable villain, but here, with a lower budget, things got scaled down from the production design to the script which seemed to be a wannabe Saw story with less-than-intricate plot points anyone can see coming 15 miles away. Still, it’s not awful and a acceptable way to pass the time. The Blu-ray has an OK set of features and the audio/video transfers are above average.